Gliders in the High Country

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hailman

Trad climber
Ventura, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 10, 2018 - 01:15pm PT
I was just wondering how someone might get involved in flying one of these gliders around the mountains?

On July 2 I was bumming around the summit of Mt Keith when a pilot flew right past me! Can only imagine the experience of soaring over all the high peaks. Wonder if they're flying for recreation? science? world peace?

Few pics:
glider by Mt Keith
glider by Mt Keith
Credit: hailman

another glider by Mt Keith
another glider by Mt Keith
Credit: hailman

The next day I was working around some thunderheads on the ridge to CalTech Peak when another pilot flew by! Bold moves skirting the storm!

glider over Shepherd Pass
glider over Shepherd Pass
Credit: hailman

CalTech Peak
CalTech Peak
Credit: hailman

anyway...the folks posting here seem to be fairly knowledgeable regarding a wide variety of topics...so maybe someone will be able to chime in with any background info :)
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jul 10, 2018 - 01:28pm PT
The Sierra Wave is a killer break

https://www.soaringmuseum.org/landmark_more.php?id=12

http://www.aerosente.com/2009/04/the-sierra-wave-project.html
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jul 10, 2018 - 01:46pm PT
Save yer food stamps and go to Minden, NV for a ride in a two place*. A little spendy but beats Disneyland. Alternative is to join a soaring club to learn the ropes while you save up for a nice used Nimbus. Nice ones can be had for $100K. Not a real nice one, mind you, but pretty nice.

*In winter, duh. FYI, the wave doesnít form in the summer very often.

ps
It will take you years to get up to speed to fly the wave unless you win the lottery. That said, if you study hard, and I do mean study, you can get quite proficient within 3-6 months. BTW, you canít rent sailplanes capable of wave soaring - you gotta buy yer way into that exclusive club. You can rent decent sailplanes that you can cross country in. Dunno about where you are but yer best bet would be the Southern California Soaring Academy. They fly out of Crystalaire Airport near Pearblossum (Palmdale).

http://www.soaringacademy.org/
snakefoot

climber
Nor Cal
Jul 10, 2018 - 02:23pm PT
damn gliders, the nerve of them.

recent glide off a 9k plateau
recent glide off a 9k plateau
Credit: snakefoot
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jul 10, 2018 - 03:57pm PT
ask Boku
hailman

Trad climber
Ventura, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 11, 2018 - 10:14am PT
Thanks all for responses. Got some good leads on my Google searching now.

I got a kick out of the Sierra Wave Project ... they actually took pictures of the instrument panels to record flight data ... awesome haha. Far cry from today's electronic data acquisition software/hardware.

Sounds like some advanced knowledge of atmospheric markers is required to fly safely but I do love learning about that stuff. Going on the long term goals I suppose. Would be sweet to take a ride at Minden or with the SoCal Soarers.

This guy has written a good overview of gliding history:
http://www.nateferguson.com/glider.html

New appreciation for the Sierra Wave too!!!!

climbing Mt Tom in January
climbing Mt Tom in January
Credit: hailman

headed to Adams Peak in the fall
headed to Adams Peak in the fall
Credit: hailman

EdBannister

Mountain climber
13,000 feet
Jul 11, 2018 - 10:56am PT
I've been buzzed at top of Tahquitz, White Mountain, and on the trail to Telescope Peak, all apparently are way points to tick off .. wwhhoooossssshhhhhh
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Jul 11, 2018 - 11:27am PT
Hi, Hailman,

Soar Truckee
13184 Sailplane Way, Truckee, CA 96161

At the same location, there is a beautiful little campground called Martis Creek Campground that's open 1/2 - 3/4 of the year. You can't reserve a campsite. First come first served. People who downhill at Northstar during the summers will try to catch a campsite there. There is also Martis Creek Lake right there in walking or bike riding distance (within view), and that can be a great place to cool down during the summer.

At Soar Truckee, people keep their sail planes, and you can go up in a two seater for $150. Make sure you pee before you go up. It was worth the expense for us.

There are some very elegant (and expensive) sailplanes there. We talked to a number of the pilots, and some of them do 200-400 mile loops from the airstrip.

Cheers,

.

Talking shop
Talking shop
Credit: MikeL
An inspiring self-propelled take-off.  The engine gets turned off and ...
An inspiring self-propelled take-off. The engine gets turned off and recedes into the fuselage.
Credit: MikeL
Good thing we are not big people.  Cozy!
Good thing we are not big people. Cozy!
Credit: MikeL
The sound of the wind was far greater than what I thought it would be.
The sound of the wind was far greater than what I thought it would be.
Credit: MikeL
Compared to regular aircraft, it feels as though you're diving for the...
Compared to regular aircraft, it feels as though you're diving for the floor. We came in pretty hot and heavy. (I was an aerial observer in VN for a while.)
Credit: MikeL
xCon

Social climber
909
Jul 11, 2018 - 12:07pm PT
next best thing...
Credit: xCon
tooth

Trad climber
B.C.
Jul 11, 2018 - 03:15pm PT
My dad has a Stemme S10. Will be flying up here tomorrow for the weekend. Can do Vancouver to Cagary over the CDN rockies really quick, and on just a few dollars of regular gas.
Credit: tooth

Getting towed up can be a pain, so can using a sailplane to actually travel anywhere. Sitting side by side is really convenient too - he flies down to competitions all down the west coast of the USA too. Iíll probably take it up on the weekend since we are getting some beautiful cumulus highways forming up here this week.

140knots. 30,000í ceiling. 50:1 ratio. On board oxygen. Storage for a tent and backpck.
Sula

Trad climber
Pennsylvania
Jul 11, 2018 - 04:46pm PT
hailman asked:
Wonder if they're flying for recreation? science? world peace?
Pretty much the first of these. Mountains of CA, NV and indeed all over the western US produce excellent conditions this time of year.

The goal of most pilots is to make the longest flight that weather conditions will allow - altitude and time aloft are viewed only as means to the primary goal.

To get an idea of what's possible for an elite pilot flying state-of-the-art aircraft, check out what a former climber turned glider expert has been up to: Recent flights by Keith Essex
(Highlights: 10 flights over 1000km within the past month.)

The link goes to a German website known as the Online Contest (OLC) - pilots from all around the world can post their flights, and see what others are up to.



zBrown

Ice climber
Jul 11, 2018 - 04:53pm PT
mo cheepah

not THE SONG I am listening to, right now though

Sula

Trad climber
Pennsylvania
Jul 11, 2018 - 05:26pm PT
zBrown posted:
mo cheepah
Yeah, maybe, sorta.

Hang gliders are cheaper to buy, but have a much shorter life (and, obviously, lower performance) than sailplanes. So the cost per hour may not be lower.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jul 11, 2018 - 05:30pm PT
That is really cool tooth. My father moved to Canada from England after the war. He flew gliders and tow planes in Montreal until he started a family. They towed with a war surplus Tiger Moth. He got out of it but he had friends that took it to the next level. My father built a Stearman in the 1970s and started building a Woodstock glider from scratch but had to stop when my mother got sick. I have my single engine ticket but alsways wanted to learn soaring (sounds better than gliding :)


xCon

Social climber
909
Jul 11, 2018 - 05:35pm PT
this is a cool link!
a couple days he averaged over 180k an hour!

hold your mouse over the icon in the info column at the far right and up pops a small map showing the route flown

lots more if you click on it...
The Alpine

climber
The Sea
Jul 11, 2018 - 06:42pm PT
This is a sick glider line coming down the chute from Mt Whitney/Wotans Throne.

zBrown

Ice climber
Jul 11, 2018 - 07:11pm PT
Whaal if "yer gonna die" proves out, you may be better off in the long/short run?

Hang gliders are cheaper to buy, but have a much shorter life (and, obviously, lower performance) than sailplanes. So the cost per hour may not be lower.

Is one more fun than the other?

See vid above

Loyd

Big Wall climber
Roseburg, OR
Jul 12, 2018 - 08:19am PT
Try Bishop great place to fly. I use to fly hang gliders and sailplanes out of there for several years. The Owens Valley is one of the longest deepest valleys in the world. Great place to see what soaring is all a]bout.
[photoid=533843
Loyd

Big Wall climber
Roseburg, OR
Jul 12, 2018 - 08:25am PT
Let's try again to post photo
[photoid=533843
zBrown

Ice climber
Jul 12, 2018 - 08:47am PT
It needs a left and right bracket
[]
Let's try again to post photo
My sailplane
My sailplane
Credit: Loyd
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